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David N. Kirkman
Task Force Alert
Chair
Asst Attorney General
Consumer Protection
NC Department of
Justice
P.O. Box 629
Raleigh, NC 27602
919-716-6000

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TO NC SENIOR CONSUMER FRAUD TASK FORCE MEMBERS

******Alert #288******

Sam Page, the Sheriff of Rockingham County (NC) this week issued an alert about scam artists who tell local citizens they have won a valuable sweepstakes prize and then press them to pay taxes or fees on the award by purchasing Green Dot MoneyPaks reloadable debit cards from a local retail outlet. This is another technique that overseas and out-of-state fraud artists have developed to obtain victims’ funds in ways that are hard to trace. Sheriff Page’s warning is as follows:

SHERIFF OF ROCKINGHAM COUNTY
Law Enforcement Center
170 NC 65 Reidsville, NC 27320
(336) 634-3232
Date of Release: 1/23/2012

[WENTWORTH, NC] - Recently it has come to the Sheriff’s Office’s attention that scammers are contacting citizens here in Rockingham County by phone telling them that they have won large sums of money, and/or luxury cars. Then the scammers are trying to convince these potential victims to go to their local Walmart and get a “GREEN DOT Rechargeable Debit Card” for varying amounts, usually hundreds of dollars, to send to the scammers to cover taxes, handling fees, etc. for these prizes. These scammers are often using the names of large companies, such as Geico Insurance, to make their scam sound legit. These recent phone scammers are calling from the following area codes: 702 (Las Vegas, NV), 636 (St. Louis, MO), and 876 (Jamaica).

The Green Dot product is legal. Nevertheless, Better Business Bureau chapters have warned consumers to be wary of unknown callers seeking payment via Green Dot MoneyPak reloadable debit cards. They also warn of websites that will only accept such cards for payment. In its alert to local consumers, the BBB in Minnesota spoke of “a rising tide of scams” involving such cards, stating:

The BBB and the (Minnesota Department of Public Safety) have recently noticed a significant increase in various schemes where fraudsters tried or succeeded in collecting payments via MoneyPaks for merchandise, advance fee loans or sweepstakes prizes – all of which turned out to be either fraudulent or nonexistent. “Both of our agencies are noticing more and more scammers are moving away from seeking payments via wire transfer and instead asking consumers to give them money via MoneyPaks,” Dona Badgerow, President and CEO of the BBB, said in a statement. “We feel this is likely due to the fact that this form of payment is quite convenient – for both consumers and scammers – and untraceable.”

MoneyPak users also need to remember that anyone they share their card number with has instant access to their funds. Con artists, says (Minn. Department of Public Safety) agent Bill White, trick consumers to load their MoneyPak cards with cash and then divulge the number, allowing them to siphon the cards dry.”


******End of Alert******

Date: January 25, 2012

David N. Kirkman
Task Force Alerts Chair
Assistant Attorney General
Consumer Protection Division
Office of Attorney General Roy Cooper
114 West Edenton Street
9001 Mail Processing Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-9001
Tel. 919-716-6000
Fax 919-716-6050

 

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